Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sitting shiva for a groundhog

I live out in the country.
I'm surrounded by farms and cornfields and animals of numerous kinds.
A few days ago, when my dad came over to mow my lawn, he said I have a woodchuck (or a groundhog or whatever) that's burrowing and doing potential damage to the insulation. (He's convinced that those creatures eat insulation off of water pipes.)
So, this afternoon, he came over to set a trap right at the edge of the burrow-hole.
I really wasn't comfortable with the idea, since I hate the thought of animals getting caught in those things. It's similar to a steel trap, with two sides that powerfully CLAMP onto the animal that triggers it.
Then he and mom left, instructing me to check the trap every so often.
This evening, shortly after I finished listening to Fab's radio show, I heard strange thumping sounds. It dawned on me that it might be an animal caught in the trap.
I went out to check....
And yes.
That's what it was.
A big groundhog was struggling fiercely, with one hind leg caught in the trap.
Poor guy.
I called dad, who said he'd be right over.
In the meantime, unsure of what to do while I waited, I sat there and kept an eye on the poor creature. He was going to die pretty soon, and he might have known that. He'd rest for awhile, breathing erratically, then he'd struggle with all his might, then he'd rest, then he'd struggle...
It was awful.
I wondered if perhaps he'd break loose, since it was just his hind leg that was caught. But no, he stayed clamped in there until mom and dad arrived. Dad brought his gun and immediately shot the groundhog.
I've never been that close to a gunshot before.
Damn, it was loud.

Then, after he was sure it was dead, he took the animal out of the trap. My neighbor came over to help (and to chat about all the animals HE's killed). The groundhog got thrown in the field across the road, dad and the neighbor talked for awhile, then everyone went home.
And here I am, blogging about it.


Mr. Fabulous said...

Well...I think there were probably other ways to deal with it.

Poor Woody.

Janna said...

Mr. Fab: My sentiments exactly.

Morgen said...

Just over the fence, eh?
In a few days, you'll be siting stinky for a groundhog.
Somehow, I'm thinking a vegetarian rodent has other things to nibble on besides water pipe insulation, but hey, mice eat ignition wires in car engines, so who the heck knows.

Why didn't you make some burgoo? I mean, you could've had one helluva Memorial Day BBQ with that sucker!

Marilyn said...

Hubby convinced me to shoot one of his guns once. He said I needed to know how the thing worked. He might be right, but I'm never touching the thing again if I can help it. It's loud and scary.

I was once tempted to swerve and hit one of the local squirrels while driving. They build nests in my attic. I didn't do it though...

Wayne said...

I use live traps. Basically a cage with a spring door that latches shut when tripped. Then he enters the Wayne Relocation Program! I take him far away to bother other unsuspecting folks. Now...exactly where do you live? ;-)

briliantdonkey said...

That sucks. I wonder if that is the original script for the movie 'ground hog day' which never made it to theaters.


briliantdonkey said...

and btw way I don't(or maybe I DO now that you mention it) reccommend trying to say that title of your post 10 times fast.


Cincy Diva said...

Mr real father, Harold the Useless, struck deal wth convent, where he'd take care of their groundhog problem. He took me along to warch for their lil haids to pop up. Kind of like whack-a-mole but with gun. After he killed the first one, I started crying and refused to help. I was such a disappointment!

Meloncutter said...

Y'all should have weighed and measured it. Might have got yer picture in the paper or something. Kind of like that kid with the 1050 pound hog in Alabammer. They are making a Hogzilla movie now. Y'all might get the rights to the sequel.


Just a thought.

Later Y'all.

Janna said...

Morgen: When I say "over the fence", I mean in the field across the road. He threw it far enough away that I won't be bothered by the stink.

Marilyn: It IS loud and scary. I've never fired a gun, ever, and I don't know if I could.

Wayne: I'd worry that they'd be able to find their way back!

BD: Possibly! We'll never know!

Cincy: Ewww. Poor mini-cincy. I don't blame you for being alarmed!

Meloncutter: Another million-dollar opportunity, down the drain!

Janna said...

BD: I just said it ten times fast... Yeah, I see what you mean! :) LOL

Travis said...

The nerve of these animals. We spend all this time, money, and effort to clear space in their habitats for our homes, and they can't seem to take the hint and scram.

I'm glad you didn't find a domesticated dog or cat in the trap.

Janna said...

Travis: Exactly. I agree completely.

Morgen said...

who knew groundhogs were Jewish?

Lynda said...

This is the saddest story I have ever read on the Jannaverse. :(

I agree with Mr. Fab.

Janna said...

Morgen: I know! I'm all verklempt!

Lynda: Yup. I think a lot of us agree. I felt really bad about the whole thing, especially since there was nothing I could do to help.
Sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

For the record... groundhogs do nibble insulation. What is typically worse, though, is that they will burrow under your foundation to the extent that it can seriously endanger the structural integrity of the house. I grew up on a farm, and we had a barn half-collapse due to a rampant groundhog infestation. I would gladly swerve in the road to kill a groundhog if I were given the opportunity. Just thought I would add my two cents.